Since Texoma Christian started playing soccer in the 2007 season, the TAPPS setup for the sport has changed multiple times over the years.

Since Texoma Christian started playing soccer in the 2007 season, the TAPPS setup for the sport has changed multiple times over the years.


The Eagles brush aside whatever potential roadblocks come into play and find themselves at the state tournament each time.


Whether it was winning championships in different divisions or eliminating divisions altogether, nothing seemed to slow them down.


"When we go into the season, we’re missing eight starters from last season," TCS head coach Erik Krotz said. "They overcame so much. This was a team that overachieved. They’ve got nothing to hang their head about."


This past weekend was the latest great season in nearly a decade full of them, although this one may have ended in the most agonizing way possible.


Texoma Christian was as close as you can be to winning the state championship, which would have been the third for the program and first since 2010, but the Eagles lost on penalty kicks, 6-5, against the British School of Houston, in the final on Saturday.


It was just the second loss of the season for TCS and the only one to a TAPPS program. The Eagles also had a pair of ties to go with 21 victories.


Despite replacing most of the starters, there were some key parts back to build around.


Zach Walston stepped in as the goal keeper and had to get the hang of a new position with a group of young defenders in front of him.


"The start of the season I was pitiful. I had an all underclassmen defense. They were learning. I was learning," Walston said. "I’m also facing some of the best strikers in the district and the state in practice. That really helped."


It didn’t take long for Walston to get the hang of things.


"For Zach being a first-year keeper, he’s as good as any keeper we’ve had come through here," Krotz said.


TAPPS changed the format in the playoff bracket this season, forcing teams to play three matches in three days. Normally just the semifinals and title match are held in a weekend but the quarterfinals were added on Thursday instead of being held the week prior.


"It was a mind over matter thing," Tate Truly said. "We were mentally fatigued after playing 180 minutes of soccer. We knew it was the state championship game so there was adrenaline."


Texoma Christian opened with a 2-1 victory against previously undefeated Austin Waldorf in double overtime when Blake Smith scored off an assist from Ben Watson three minutes into the second period. Blake Burley started things off with a goal and helped break the ice for a program looking to end its two-game losing streak at the state tournament.


"That first goal got us so pumped up," he said. "I was glad to get to the tournament and not lose right away."


It was the seventh straight season that the team advanced to the state semifinals.


"The success we’ve had over the years, when we practice, when we prepare, it’s what we expect ourselves to do," Krotz said.


Waiting in the semis was Bethesda Christian, the team TCS beat for the District 1 title after winning and tying against it in the regular season.


"I hate playing teams three times," Burley said. "The third time is always rough."


Smith and Burley did the honors again in a 2-1 comeback victory.


"They didn’t even have time to inflate their bubble before we popped it," Burley said.


That set up the meeting with the British School, which eliminated defending champion Longview Heritage in the other semifinal. Neither team could score as Walston made 22 saves and his counterpart was equal to the task in keeping the scoreboard clean.


"It was a chess match," Truly said. "When they got possession they tried to keep possession. We like to counterattack."


Eventually it came down to penalty kicks, the first time the Eagles have ever had a match get that far. "We haven’t had to use them," Krotz said. "We spend a decent amount of time on it and it comes into play."


The British School had a chance to win on its fifth attempt but missed and Truly kept TCS alive when he scored. David Shamasko connected in the first sudden-death attempt to extend the session before Texoma Christian finally couldn’t match the British School.


"It seemed like that type of tournament were we were always hanging on by a thread," Krotz said.